Showing posts with label baby. Show all posts
Showing posts with label baby. Show all posts

October 31, 2016

Unraveling

Ya'll... I questioned our move south ALL summer. Our city ranked in the top 5 in the nation for hottest summer. We had 90 plus days of 90 degree weather. It FINALLY cooled off last week, only to have the temperatures rise back into the 80s this week. We STILL have the AC on at night.

The other day, the Sailor wanted to braai some lamb chops we received from our farm CSA. I said we could do it later in the week. He looked at me earnestly and said the weather would be changing: he'd better do it that day. 

Seriously, folks. He acted like Snowmaggedon was coming to the South. The weather did drop, it got windy, but it wasn't that bad. 

But, it did at least turn the leaves their glorious colors.  


Even though we went to a local farm and it was blazing hot out, the Peanut still looked super cute trying to find a pumpkin


I do love a good seasonal change (even though it heated right back up!) It makes me want to purge closets, sort craft supplies and start cooking new meals, in between our days spent at the park, the zoo and the aquarium.

I'm also sorting digital data. I mentioned in my last post that Walter, my beloved iMac of six years, finally packed up (RIP). The Sailor managed to get the hard drive out of him, and I've been sorting through the innumerable photos I had stored on the computer. I had a TON. I was heavily into the camera club, photo shows, and a new iPhone, not to mention a vintage craze, and I had an insane amount of pictures taking up space. So, this past week, I've been sorting, shuffling and deleting. (Seriously, why do I have sooo many photos of Pyrex bowls I no longer even own?!

I also decided to get a few cool weather items out of the closet, when I found this scarf I'd made, full of holes. 

Moth holes. (Insert shriek of horror.)

I was not impressed. I'm quite tidy and the thought of having moths in our closet freaked me out. (Not unlike the mold fiasco of a few years ago, in our tiny and fairly grotty, PA apartment.) I am meticulous about keeping my wool yarn and other goodies storied in plastic and away from moth potential. I guess I'd forgotten about this beaded scarf. In fact, I took it out and wondered if I shouldn't just give it away, because I never wore it. 

The holes answered the question for me.

It seems to be a theme here... nearly everything I've knitted over the past few years, I've unraveled. Apart from the toys and sweaters I've made for the Peanut, I've ripped apart countless sweaters and things that I made for myself. And then I stare at that pile of spaghetti yarn and wonder if it was all worth it.

Sometimes my life feels a bit the same. I often seem to be unraveling something for one reason or another. Sometimes stuff I wanted to accomplish goes by the wayside. The Sailor could return to work any day, without much notice, giving us occasional grief with planning anything. My attempt to create deep friendships here has so far failed miserably. The slipper business I hoped to start by the end of the year has taken a backseat for the moment. 

In the meantime, I need to make my mom a new pair, because her slippers are nearly four years old, and have been well-loved. (Sidenote: until the moth issue is under control, I'm freaking out about having ANY wool laying around, plastic bags or not.)

So instead of knitting much these days, I'm working on this cross stitch monstrosity I started last year in Singapore. I decided I needed a little break from yarn projects, and I want to finish this before the Peanut turns 16.


I've been thinking a lot about how seasons change — not only with the weather, but in life. When I started this blog, I was crafting and taking photos like crazy. I was part of a knitting guild and a camera club. I had time to thrift and hunt for vintage treasures, and I spent long days at coffee shops planning projects. My giant archive of photos is a testament to the copious cups of coffee I drank, the Pyrex I collected and the crafts I created. 


Obviously, when the Peanut came along, so much changed. Pyrex got purged (although I still have a serious stash of it that I use daily!) Half of the craft closet went to a thrift store (simplify, simplify, simplify!) and lots of to do projects went by the wayside. Now we spend our days taking walks, throwing balls, watching the animals at the zoo, and trying to say, 'fish' at the aquarium, before I collapse into a heap on the sofa post-Peanut bedtime.

One thing though picked up. I'm writing a LOT more, which let's face it, is all I've ever really wanted to do some days and it's the real reason why I started this blog in the first place to give me a platform to write. 

I may not be writing here that regularly, but I'm still writing. If you want to know more about the Peanut's birth and how I knew nothing about c-sections and then had one, you can go here

Birth stories aren't for everyone though; loves stories are a different tale altogether. For a more detailed version of how the Sailor and I met, you can read that here

And, November 1st heralds the starts of the 2016 NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Last year I participated and managed to eek out a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. I'm going to attempt to do the same this year, even though I seem busier, the Peanut seems needier, and I'll be traveling for half of the month of November. 

Wish me luck, and I'll plan to see you again in December! Hopefully nothing will come unraveled in the meantime. 

September 18, 2016

Itching for Fall

All around me, people are itching for Fall to begin, in more ways than one. (Heat rash, anyone?!)

This summer has been a crazy hot one... and although I'm usually a little sad to be packing up swimsuits, the reality is that this summer was almost too hot to even go to the pool, so I find myself yearning for cool days constantly. The Peanut and I stayed inside more often than not, and we spent a lot of time at indoor play areas (those outdoor playgrounds get insanely HOT. I still don't know why more playgrounds aren't built in the shade.) 

I can remember walking past mall play areas thinking that even if I had kids, I probably wouldn't ever take them to such a loud crazy place. 

And yet, at least once I week, I find myself smiling as the Peanut clamors to get to the steps and slide, running around like he has a firecracker in his pants. 

I've eaten a lot of my words about motherhood in these past two years. I swore I'd never become a mommy blogger and yet you can read my first official mom blog post over here, where I air my confessions. I will be blogging regularly at Chattanooga City Moms Blog for at least the next six months, so be sure to subscribe to their posts if you don't want to miss out! There are quite a few of us contributors on the site, so it's been neat to read different local mom perspectives. Plus, it will give me a chance to be a mommy voice in the community, without turning Typing Sunflowers into the latest mom blog. 

Besides chaos, I'm still making stuff. Like these adorable vertebrae sweaters for ALL OF THE BABIES friends are having. (Seriously ya'll... is it something in the water?!)







I'm also still breaking stuff. Walter, my dear companion and iMac of the past six years, refuses to show me anything on his screen, and it's a costly repair. I'm pretty sure we're going to have to simply bury him somehow in the recycling bin. Until I can get Walter's second brain (aka, my backup hard drive) picked apart, I don't have many other photos to prove any other craftiness to you at the moment, but I can assure you, I've made more of those cardigans than I can count this summer.   

We are now mere days away from the official start of Fall. It's finally raining outside, there is a slight chill in the air, the Sailor is home watching British football (soccer) and the Peanut is sleeping soundly. I can feel the seasons changing. And that's always a good thing.

August 18, 2016

Welcome back?

A lifetime ago, when I worked for Mercy Ships, I waved goodbye to their flagship from an ice cold dock in Germany. I spent a few weeks in England and then returned to the States to assimilate back into American culture. I slept late, recovered from jet-lag, wrote in my journal and tried to figure out pop culture nuances I had missed over the last few years in Africa.

Then I started job hunting. In the end, I took a land job with Mercy Ships. I worked as a grant writer in their short-lived DC office. When I calculated the time that I officially left Mercy Ships to the time I took the job, it had been exactly three months.

I didn’t need to leave Mercy Ships. I simply need a Leave of Absence. All long-term crew were afforded a three month break every three years. I neglected to take mine. And I should have. I was burnt out and simply needed a break.


Maybe I just needed a Leave of Absence from blogging for the summer (again). Who knows. But I'm back.

I’m a little like those Olympic athletes and coaches who say they’re retiring and then they come back for just one more season. (Okay, that's a stretch. But hey, the summer Olympics ARE on.)

And while I did indeed take the summer off from blogging, I certainly have not had a summer off.

So let’s have a little recap, shall we?

:: The Sailor arrived home in May, after passing his Master’s Unlimited exam! Those of you familiar with sea life will understand what a HUGE and monumental deal this is. The Sailor studied and put hours of hard work into this and had to endure a grueling three and a half hour oral exam. Not for the faint of heart. I’m so proud of my captain! 

:: In May, I attended a fantastic sweater unraveling workshop on an alpaca farm. The workshop was hosted by Reunion Yarn, a great startup focusing on recycling and reusing fiber. It combines my love of thrifting with my love of yarn. Unraveling thrifted or old sweaters? Sign me up! I even hauled my dear mother with me and together we attempted to dismantle a few cardigans I had previously made for both her and myself. The yarn stash is now overflowing. 


:: While the Sailor was home, we took a trip to Legoland in Atlanta. The Peanut has been obsessed with his $2 blocks from Goodwill. We figured it was time to introduce him to Legos. He LOVED it.

:: In June and on a whim, I mentioned to the Sailor that I wanted to start looking seriously into selling my handmade knit and crocheted items. The following week, Co.Starters was starting their summer cohort, a
nine-week course aimed at aspiring entrepreneurs wanting to startup a business. The first week I sat there wondering what on earth I got myself into, but this past week we had our pitch night and graduation celebration and I'm pretty proud of myself for taking such a giant leap forward.

While I'm still very much
in the beginning stages and taking it VERY slow, I do feel far more equipped to eventually launch a small business selling hand knit slippers (of course.) Stay tuned for more info on this exciting endeavor! 
Cooling off in the cabin

:: In July, the Peanut and I went camping. It was CRAZY hot. We camped with a dozen moms and 45 kids. You read that right. FORTY-FIVE. I was the only mom with only one kid — most of the gals there had 4-5 each, many with newborns! Props to those mighty women. I of course was missing my summers in Scotland, but this was a good initiation into camping for the Peanut. At least our cabins had an outlet and I had the good sense to bring a giant fan. We spent a lot of time floating on the lake. The Peanut also consumed lots of junk that he's not allowed to have at home, like blue Gatorade and sugary lemonade to avoid dehydration.

:: In August, the Peanut turned two! TWO! I actually felt like a fog lifted that week. I don’t know if it’s a hormonal shift in my life, or the fact that he’s no longer a baby, but I feel a little lighter these days. The first two years with the little Peanut, while filled with immense joy, were also HARD. And tiring. So I don’t know what the reasoning is for my new lighter outlook, but I'll take it.

:: Finally, I have broken a promise I made to myself when I was pregnant. I became a mommy blogger. (GASP!) I am one of the newest contributors on the Chattanooga City Moms Blog site. I had been reading their material for a while (there are City Moms Blogs all over — find one in your area) so when they put out a call for Chattanooga writers, I applied. My first post will be on there in a few short weeks. (Excuse me while I eat my words...)


So there you have it. I'm back and hopefully better than ever. Or else I just have Olympic fever. Or I'm still delirious from lack of sleep (still), two years into this mama business. Whatever the reason, I've missed sharing bits of my life on here. I'm still not sure where Typing Sunflowers is heading, but I know like most things in my life, it's growing organically.  

I hope you'll welcome the blog back! 



February 1, 2016

February!

Yes, I know it's been forever. It's February already. 

FEBRUARY!! 

I promise you, I haven't forgotten this blog. But you know the days run into other days, and there's a constant flow of meal prep, dishes, playtime, laundry, errands... and occasionally sleep. The Sailor arrived home for the holidays and has been home for all of January, so it seemed like our days were even fuller and busier. Every time I contemplated writing a blog post, the Peanut would bring me a book, hand outstretched, wanting me to read it to him. 

And really, who can deny such a cute kid a little reading session? 

So here I am, in the middle of his nap time, wondering where all of January went besides a blur of food, laundry and library books. 

Nevertheless, I did manage to accomplish a few crafty things. I also realized that even if I'm not posting every little detail, I'm still living life and making things. And that's what really makes me happy.

I threw my friend Tianna a baby shower! 





She hosted my book shower a little over a year and a half ago. Now, she's having twins! We ate lots of yummy food on vintage wares, and showered her with gifts galore. I made her yellow and grey baby cardigans like this one (I was so busy hosting that I forgot to get photos of my own gifts.)  

I'm also in the middle of making both myself and the Peanut new slippers. (I've finally gotten around to using the wool I bought in Idaho a year ago.) They are both these felt clogs. I remembered this week that I had the pattern for the children's version as well! Perfect timing since the Peanut rips his socks off and needs a pair of these for around the house. They knit up fast and I'm looking forward to throwing these in the laundry and watching them shrink to the right size.


I also finally finished this Through the Woods hat and cowl. I purchased a kit on Craftsy forever ago and then realized it never really gets cold enough here to wear such a thing, so I kept it in the 'to do' pile. Over the holidays, I worked on it and decided it's a perfect belated birthday gift for my pal in Idaho (where it gets cold enough to wear it!)  


It looks much better on, but since we are all recovering from nasty colds and constant nose blowing, I'll refrain from posting a photo of myself in it. (I've looked better... let's just leave it at that!



And once again, my local yarn store had the perfect wooden buttons to go with it. 

I also feel like I should report that we have the windows open and it's positively balmy outside. THIS is the reason we moved south. 

May 26, 2015

Cloth Diapering Basics

I didn't know much about babies before I had one, but one thing was for certain — I knew if I ever had a child, I'd use cloth diapers.

Cloth diapers have come a long way since I was a baby. I'm happy to report that I've been using them nearly exclusively for almost 10 months now, without a single pin in sight. 

If you are in the market to swap out your disposables or if you're considering cloth as a new mama, you may be as overwhelmed as I was with the choices out there. I ended up Googling 'cloth-diaper-how-to' and found some great YouTube videos. (Sadly, I forgot to bookmark them to share with you.) But I figured I could still possibly help a mother or two out there who is curious about cloth diapering. 

(If you couldn't care less about diapers... well then feel free to skip this post! Even if you do care about cloth diapers, this post is quite lengthy, so grab a cup of coffee...)

I discovered that there was no right or wrong way to cloth diaper. Everyone has their own preference and I had to go through several types of diapers before I found the ones that fit our lifestyle.  

In the cloth diapering world, there are numerous types of diapers. Some examples include: All-in-One (AIO), pocket-diapers, and shells or covers that you use in conjunction with either pre-folds or flats. Another cloth diapering mama told me to gather a few of each and then figure out which ones I liked.

In the end, the old-fashioned very basic, versatile and cheap flats were the most effective for my little Peanut — and they were my favorite diapers to actually use. I purchased several covers, and only washed them when they got wet or soiled. 

Initially I had a diaper service for six weeks, so I used their pre-folds in my covers. The pre-folds worked well, but as they come in two sizes, I didn't like the idea that I would have to invest in two sets of pre-folds as the Peanut grew. I also knew that pre-folds take longer to dry, both in the dryer and air drying. I wanted to simplify my life.
 
Flats are just that. Flat pieces of cloth. (I'm not talking about the cheapies you can find at Walmart that are actually labeled 'cloth diapers'... use those awful things as burp cloths instead.) Traditional flats are thin and dry very fast both in the dryer and on a line. These are the traditional old-fashioned cloth diapers that our moms pinned on us... only nowadays, you can simply fold them in half twice, then in thirds and then stuff them into a cover that you snap onto your baby. Voila. No more fancy folding or pinning! 


That being said, you can totally do the old-fashioned fold and pin, with a cover over the top. I just think these Planet Wise covers are super easy to use!




Plus they're simply adorable. They come in two sizes. For a while, I was able to overlap using both sizes with the Peanut, when I adjusted the snaps on the smallest two (top) with the larger sizes (bottom). As you can see, the snaps adjust so you can make them smaller or larger, and you can even snap down the cover for that (semi-gross) newborn stage when the umbilical cord still needs to fall off.



I invested in two of the smaller size and four of the larger size. (I had a few miscellaneous smaller covers I found at consignment sales.) I also had two of the Thirsties brand in the small size. There are lots of other covers out there — some have snaps; others use velcro-like closures. I prefer the snaps, although now that the Peanut is super wiggly, I suspect the hook and loop closures might be quicker and easier! 



While the Thirsties worked out well, especially because they dried super fast, I preferred the Planet Wise covers because I could pre-stuff them with a flat diaper before a change. 



I found my flats online. Initially I purchased a dozen each of the bleached and unbleached versions of OsoCozy flats. After a few months, I bought another six of the unbleached ones since I wanted to keep a stash in the car and in my bag. I prefer the unbleached because they hide stains better and they generally feel softer overall. 

I also purchased about eight of the micro-fiber fleece pocket diapers from both Jungle Roo and Lotus Bums. I found them on Zulily, where they were much cheaper than on their sites. Initially I used them overnight because I could stuff two inserts in at a time, but I discovered they seemed to leak worse when the Peanut was laying down. I swapped over to the flats overnight, stuffing two into the cover, and so far it's working!





I had a few different all-in-one diapers that I didn't really like using. I just thought they were really bulky... and I wanted something smaller to carry around in my bag. I also don't like using the micro-fiber fleece ones when I'm out and about. They seem to take up more space in my bag. Flats and the covers fit the bill perfectly. 

If you cloth diaper, you need somewhere to store your dirty diapers until laundry day. We bought a galvanized trash can, similar to this one, and then a large wet bag to put inside. We keep the trash can in the laundry room. I hang smaller wet bags in the room where we change the Peanut. I found several wet/dry bags on Zulily also. Planet Wise also sells a number of super cute ones.

And as far as laundry goes, it is more, but nothing that is out of control. I can go every three days with my stash, but I prefer to wash every other day. I soak the diapers, then run a cycle using Nellie's All Natural Laundry Soda (I can often find a dented tin at TJMaxx and similar stores, much cheaper) and at least one extra rinse on hot water. When the diapers start to stink more than usual, they need to be stripped of excess laundry soap, so I end up washing them with vinegar and rinse, rinse, rinse. 

What about the poop? I hear you asking. Well, exclusively breastfed poop can go right into the washing machine! It's water soluble, after all. Once the baby is on solids, poop is, well, poop, so you need to toss it into the loo. I found that it comes off the micro-fiber fleece a little easier, but it's not that hard to get it off the flats. Some people purchase a sprayer for their toilet, others use a scraper or just swish the diaper in the water to loosen the gunk. 

And really, you're supposed to flush the poop even if you use disposables, so it's not that much more work. 

For wipes, I purchased about 40 small baby washcloths from TJMaxx. I used them quite heavily when the Peanut was tiny and pooping a ton. Now that he's also eating solid foods, I found that I only need about a dozen wipes in my stash to get them through several days.  I use plain old water, or this Kissaluvs Diaper Lotion Potion that smells super.

When I'm out and about with the Peanut, I still cloth diaper. I just keep a wet/dry bag in our stuff and I cart home the dirties. They don't stink in the bag. I usually have disposables wipes with me instead of the washcloths though. Disposable wipes are needed for all kinds of messes, so it's worth it to me to keep a package in my bag. 

Someone asked me the other day if I thought it was cost-effective to use cloth. Um, yes. I estimate that I spent about $300 on my stash and I probably could have spent a little less. I haven't calculated how much I've spent in laundry soap, water and electricity, but the bills haven't skyrocketed. They have gone up only slightly, and it's still much cheaper than disposables.

The only time I've used disposables were those first few days I spent in the hospital, and then I've also used them while traveling long distances, such as on an airplane. I had some serious sticker shock when I had to buy diapers for those traveling occasions! I used them exclusively for my 10-day trip to Idaho, and even though I bought chemical free disposables, it was the only time the Peanut got a rash. I would have carted my cloth stash with me, but I only traveled with hand luggage (and the Peanut, of course!)




I also used them traveling to and from South Africa, but since we were there for nearly a month and we had a larger luggage limit, I brought my stash with me. In the end, it was a lot more work to wash them there, since my mother-in-law has a very old-fashioned washing machine (along with a separate spinner), and we had to hang dry the diapers, but even the Sailor got on board with helping out and it worked out fine.

I found that for traveling, disposables are definitely easier to deal with. They are also less bulky than cloth diapers, so you can stash more in your bag. Even when the Sailor and I went on a short road trip out of town for a few days, we took the cloth diapers with us. In retrospect, it was a little icky to cart home a whole load of dirty diapers in the trunk, but I wanted to prove to myself that it was possible to travel with cloth.  

I'm not sure if the Peanut has noticed a difference, but I certainly have with the amount of cash we're saving. I feel a little less guilty splurging on other things for the Peanut now. 

I'll be traveling a bit this summer, and while I will definitely use cloth at my destinations, I'll be using disposables along the way. After all, I'll be on vacation. 

Some great cloth diaper vendors: 




Amazon carries a number of items, of course. I also found a few things through Walmart and Target, available online only and not in their stores. 

Did you make the cloth diaper switch? I'd love to hear about it! 

April 22, 2015

Happy Earth Day!

 

I took this photo nearly a decade ago (how is that even possible?!) at a small outdoor restaurant along the coast of South Africa. It's an old buoy, but it has always reminded me of the earth. 

The Sailor, the Peanut and I just returned from South Africa, and while we were nowhere near this restaurant, we at least enjoyed the outdoors as well as the spoils from Oupa's garden. We missed peach season, but we still had fresh carrots, tomatoes, onions and potatoes to feast on. We were just in time, since much of the garden was gearing up for the winter.



We introduced the Peanut to grass, which he wasn't too sure about at first. 



He soon figured that grass was great to crawl in, leaves make wonderful crunchy noises, and Dexter the Wonder Dog is fun to pet. 


I got to sit under my favorite tree.


We introduced hammocking to the Peanut as well. 


He didn't stay in the hammock long, 
but I think he liked the sound of the leaves rustling in the wind. 

  
Earth Day might only come around once a year, but I kind of like the idea of enjoying the outdoors all 365 days.


Now that we're back in the Northern Hemisphere (Spring already sprang while we were away) it's time to think of our own garden. This year we're planting tomatoes, okra, peas, carrots and broccoli, plus maybe a few other goodies. 

I'm thinking maybe sunflowers? 



Whatever your day brings, I hope it's full of sunshine, and happiness equivalent to leaves crunching in a baby's hand.

Happy Earth Day! 
 

March 28, 2015

Bah Bah Wooden Sheep Buttons

Once upon a time, the Sailor and I took a short road trip and I realized I could knit in the car while he drove. 

I nearly finished this sweater

When we got home, it took forever to finish it because the Peanut was trying to help me. 



Then when I finished it, I still needed buttons. 



Even my giant button stash didn't have five buttons that suited this little cardigan.  
(If you need to clear out your own giant stash, read this post...)

I finally made it to the local knitting store, where I scored these wooden sheep ones. 



I had seen them before when I went to look for buttons for this cardigan, but I liked the black ones more against that green one. 

Then the buttons sat there while the Peanut learned to get into everything. 

Finally, during two separate naps, I managed to get the buttons sewn on. 

Just in time for Spring. 



{Sigh.}

The End. 

March 6, 2015

Pictures are worth 1,000 words...

I kind of liked my photo recap the other week and I decided that since I seem to be blogging less, I should post lots of photos more often. One photo after all, is worth 1,000 words. So it makes sense that a few photos should make up for a lack of blogging on my part, right?

So here's what I've been up to: 

I've been waiting for Spring, and the sunshine finally started streaming through the windows a little more this week. 





The Peanut took his first flight across America a few weeks ago! 


He did great. His mama was pretty exhausted, though.




I started to crochet a blanket, using this pattern.  
(I also wrote about the blanket with the same pattern here.)



I made it into my local yarn store to pick up some buttons for this cardigan.




This gorgeous pile of yarn came home with me from Idaho. (Every time I visit this store, I break my promise to only use my stash and I make a yarn haul.)



These awesome scissors also made it into my bag. Cutting yarn is now even more delightful.



I am very much looking forward to the return of the Sailor in a few weeks. The Peanut is also missing him.


I'm a little excited to be using this cool vintage yarn holder I found at an antique shop a few weeks ago.



The Peanut has gone mobile. My little guy crawls all over the place and is now pulling himself up onto everything he can grab. 

 
And finally, this happened tonight... thanks to the aforementioned mobility of the Peanut. The little guy is into everything.

Welcome to my somewhat chaotic world nowadays! 



February 15, 2015

Baby, It's COLD Outside

We moved south for several reasons: one of which was to escape the gloom and frigid temps of the north. Imagine my surprise when I saw the single digits and snowstorm predicted for this week. 

I've said before that I once interviewed a 102-year-old British lady (she went on to live to be 104) and she used to say she didn't mind the weather, as long as she was dressed for it. 

I tend to agree, but I'm still looking forward to warmer temps. In the meantime, I've been using up the leftover yarn from my own warm cardigan

(Have no fear, Peanut. Mama is frantically trying to finish another sweater for you before you outgrow it.)


Pattern is from Love Knitting for Baby February/March 2014. There's no photo, but it's a basic baby cardi with ribbing. This one, Little Coffee Bean, is very similar, only with stripes. You can see mine here.

Stay warm everyone and if you're snowbound, I hope you've stocked up on yarn!